Customer Service in Different Countries

The consulting company Accenture recently surveyed about 650 senior executives in different industries from 11 countries. What interested me was how the importance of customer service varied in different industries. Here is a listing from their press release of the percentage of business customers who switched to other vendors due to poor customer service and how it varies by country:

  • China: 55 percent
  • Sweden: 46 percent
  • India: 44 percent
  • Italy: 44 percent
  • Finland: 43 percent
  • Japan: 24 percent
  • Great Britain: 24 percent
  • Brazil: 23 percent
  • United States: 22 percent
  • France: 16 percent
  • Canada: 16 percent
  • Denmark: 15 percent
  • Mexico: 13 percent
  • Argentina: 7 percent

This data can of course imply either one or both of these two things: the customer service in the countries with lower percentages is better and/or customers in the countries with lower percentages value customer service less than the customers in the countries with high percentages. For example, we can that business customers in Argentina either don’t care about customer service and do not let it influence their business choices and/or we can say that business in Argentina provide great customer service and the business customers don’t find it necessary to switch vendors because the service is so good. Both factors are probably at play here.

What have you noticed about service in countries besides the United States? I checked the web statistics for Service Untitled and about 68% of my visitors live in either the United States or Canada, so I have a very North America-centered readership, but I’m sure many of you have worked with customers or companies in other countries and have perhaps noticed a difference in the importance of customer service.

The survey that Accenture conducted had a lot of other interesting findings as well. I’ll be including some of them in future posts.

7 Responses to “Customer Service in Different Countries”

  1. sara said:

    Mar 05, 09 at 8:28 pm

    I deal with both Canadian and American (USA;))clients, and it seems that when an issue arises that is beyond our control, the canadians are far more patient and understanding than the USA Americans are. They seems to be more willing to work with us or wait for a resolution, while the USA Americans usually want a final answer and a fix right away – when there’s not always one available.

    I think this is very seperate from the two reasons you provide, and the more laid-back cultures are probably lower on the list than those with more “Rigid” cultures.

  2. Brian Sprague said:

    Mar 06, 09 at 4:36 pm

    There is a difference between regions and countries regarding business to business customer service. North American and Latin American customers are the most likely to reward–with more of their business–companies that provide distinguished and superior customer support compared with European and Asian customers. One consistency around the world, however, is the recognition by customers and providers that delivering a superior experience to a customer helps retain that customer.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Mar 07, 09 at 4:43 pm

    Sara, I think that is a good observation and a great point.

    Brian, thanks for your comment and addition.

  4. Colin Shaw said:

    Mar 08, 09 at 5:42 pm

    I live in England but travel throughout the globe. What I know from dealing with many multinational companies is culture and expectations play a big part. In the Asia, service is part of the social culture of many of the countries. In Europe it is not. So the issue for me is it is all relevant dependent on where you live and the market conditions.

  5. Tim said:

    Mar 16, 09 at 11:05 am

    I have been conducting customer surveys for the U.S. Canada and Mexico. We are now helping our international group create a survey program and I’m very interested in the details of the study. Do you have any contact information that I could use to try and gt a copy of the report?

  6. Brian Sprague said:

    Apr 02, 09 at 1:05 am

    Tim,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. Please email me your email address and I will send you more information about the Accenture research and findings.

    Sincerely,

    Charlie Hartley
    Accenture
    charles.hartley@accenture.com

  7. Fritz said:

    Jun 23, 10 at 11:46 am

    This is a very interesting report. Working in an environment where positive customer sat is rewarded, I am shocked to see people believing that it would suggest a 25% or less importance on vendor selection.

    Does you report question as to why the complacent attitude? Does the lower rated areas believe that bad customer service is less important then say pricing?

    I would like to understand more of the interrogation of this info.